New Playwrights Programme 2009 - 2010

2009 New Playwrights Programme Participants


In this photo: Tim Crouch, Lisa Tierney Keogh, Aidan Harney, Jody O’ Neill, Shona McCarthy, Neil Sharpson, Lisa Keogh and Philip McMahon.

Aidan Harney was part of the Abbey Theatre’s New Playwrights’ Programme (NPP) in 2009/2010. Since then he has completed work on a new commissioned work for The Focus Theatre (‘Hollywood Valhalla’, 2012, directed by Joe Devlin) which, following a highly-successful world premiere at Bewley’s Cafe Lunchtime Theatre recently, will shortly return to tour a number of theatres. Meanwhile, Aidan is working with Upstate Theatre Company, Drogheda, ahead of the staging of a new work later this year based on an oral-history project, developed with a group of local people who will also take part in the performance of ‘Ship Street Revisited’ as part of the 2012 Droghead Arts Festival. In 2001, Aidan was selected to complete the Rough Magic Theatre Company SEEDS programme. Since then he has completed commissioned work for Rough Magic Theatre Company and the Dublin Fringe Festival (‘A Monarch in Hollywood’ 2002), Upstate Theatre Company (‘Submarine Man’ 2008 and a second tour in 2009) as well as the Focus Theatre/PurpleHeart production of ‘Hollywood Valhalla’. He won a national playwrighting award from Red Kettle Theatre Company and his piece ‘The Unsuccessful Suicide of Trish O’Malley’ was staged in 2007 as part of the 21st celebrations of Red Kettle and again in 2008 in Dublin. In 2006, Harney was shortlisted in the international Q Plays Series competition run by Compass Theatre, San Diego, USA, for his play ‘Love, Sex, Nicotine’. Other work includes ‘Titus’ 2005 (Dublin Fringe Festival). He was awarded a place at the Stewart Parker Trust residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig in 2008. He began work on a new play while taking part in the NPP and is continuing to progress this work.

Lisa Keogh is a participant in the Lonely Page creative writing conference at Queen’s University Belfast. In March 2011 she worked with the Lyric Young Drama Studio on Manifesto for a New Theatre. She has produced and directed shows for Centre Stage, Cursed and Sumaire theatre companies. In 2012 her play Ahab’s Daughter featured in a Literary Lunchtime rehearsed reading at Ulster Hall. In addition, her script Taking the Boat was selected for the Short Steps scheme for Northern Ireland Screen. Of the six chosen, the final four films will go into production.

Shona McCarthy In addition to completing the New Playwrights Pilot Program at the Abbey Theatre in 2009, Shona McCarthy has been writing for both stage and screen. She helped to found the Dragonfly theatre in Galway with two classmates from NUIG. Shona’s plays Married to the Sea, and Reptilian have been performed on that stage as well as at the Galway Arts Festival in 2009. Her play Heidi and the Bear was performed in 2011 at the Dublin Fringe Festival. She is also a script writer for RTE’s television series Fair City.

Jody O’Neill works as an actor and playwright. As an actor, she has worked for many Irish companies, including Rough Magic, Anu, Graffiti Theatre Company, Barnstorm, Aisling Ghéar. and Asylum, as well as producing her own work. Jody received the Pat Murray Bursary in 2009 for training and development as a theatre maker. She recently received a YPCE Bursary to develop her work for young people. She is a part of Project Catalyst, an initiative of Project Arts Centre. Her first play, Lament for Joseph, was produced as part of Fishamble’s Whereabouts in 2006. Recent work includes Walking Man (currently touring in the English and Irish languages), produced by Graffiti Theatre Company, and Celebrity, produced by Peer to Peer (short-listed for the Stewart Parker Award). She also has a ‘Tiny Play’ in production with Fishamble New Play Company. Jody was a co-founder of Project Brand New, which she co-curated and produced until 2010. She also works for the National Association for Youth Drama, as editor of their annual publication, Youth Drama Ireland.

Neil Sharpson participated in the Abbey Theatre’s New Playwrights Programme in 2009. Since then he has been both writing and acting. In addition, he is a founding member of CYEBO Theatre where his play The Search for the Real Jimmy Gorman was performed. His play The Anti-Apologists was selected to be part of the Play Lab at the Last Frontier Conference 2012 in Alaska. Neil has also acted with the Blue Moon Theatre Company.

Lisa Tierney-Keogh has written six plays for the stage and is currently under commission with her seventh at the Abbey Theatre. Her work has been staged in Dublin and received readings in New York, London and Belfast. Lisa has won the Irish Times Theatre Awards Bursary and has been nominated for several awards including The Stewart Parker Trust Award, The BBC Tony Doyle Television Award, Dublin Fringe Festival Awards (Best New Play, Best Production, Bewley’s Theatre Special Award). In 2009, she was a member of the inaugural New Playwrights Programme at the Abbey Theatre. For television, Lisa has developed and written work for RTE, Tyrone Productions (IRL), and Yo Yo Media (UK). Lisa has received writing bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Council, Screen Training Ireland and The Peggy Ramsay Foundation in London. She has been published in the Irish Times and the Sunday Independent and trained with the Lee Strasberg Institute, The Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.


A workshop with Sam Shepard.

2010 New Playwrights Programme Participants


In this photo: Darren Donohue, Roisin Coyle, Elena Bolster, Grace Dyas, Louise Melinn and Shawn Sturnick

Elena Bolster was a member of the Young Peoples Theatre group and graduated from The Gaiety School of Acting in 2005. In 2007, she finished her first play Beast. Elena formed her own arts company, Bookshelf, in 2008 and went on to direct Beast as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2009. The play was invited to the Unfringed Festival in Belltable, Limerick where Elena won Judges Special Award for writing. Beast has also been staged in Theatre 503 and the Courtyard Theatre, London. Elena was a member of the Abbey Theatre New Playwrights Programme 2010. Elena wrote a one-act play, Freesia, for the Accidental Festival in the Battersea Arts Centre, London in May 2010. In January, Elena worked with the London based company thisnowthis and wrote the score text for their recent production, a downpour, which was performed at The Place in London. She is developing her new play, Meat, and an online audio project titled In Your Bed with UNTitled theatre company, where she is writer-in-residence. UNTitled will also produce the London premiere of Beast at the White Bear in London in May and as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad street festival in July. Elena is currently studying for her MA in Writing for Performance at Goldsmith’s University, London.

Róisín Coyle is currently working in stage management at the Abbey Theatre and has been working in theatre since completing her MA in Modern Drama in UCD. While she was living in London, she was awarded a place on the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme 2008, after submitting an early draft of Chaos Theory. In 2009, she directed readings of two of her plays, Chaos Theory and Wake for the New Theatre. Her first play, Chaos Theory, was then produced as part of the New Writing Season for the New Theatre in 2010. She has recently completed the New Playwrights Programme at the Abbey Theatre.

Darren Donohue Following being invited onto the New Playwrights Programme at The Abbey Theatre in 2010, Darren was shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award in the category of “emerging poetry”. In 2011 Shawn Sturnick (also a NPP participant) and I founded Pandora Theatre Company. Pandora is a professional theatre and outreach company based in Kilkenny. Supported by Kilkenny Arts Office we premiered new writing in Cleeres in Sept 2011. Dareen’s play “Voices in the Rubble” then transferred from Cleeres to The Pearse Centre. Pandora, with continued support from Kilkenny Arts Office, will premiere my latest play this Sept. His tiny play “Tuesday Evening (following the news)” was also selected to run as part of Fishamble’s “Tiny Plays for Ireland” project.

Grace Dyas is one third of THEATREclub. Grace is a writer, a director and sometimes she produces things or makes new things happen. Grace is interested in making work about the cit y and our souls. She chooses to make theatre because it offers the opportunity for live discussion between artists and audiences. She is motivated by the idea that theatre can start conversations that start ripples toward social change. She is currently in residency at Studio 468 run by Common Ground and Rialto Development association, where she is working with Rialto Community Drug Team to develop a theatre workshop program for people in addiction.
She is currently working with The Family Resource Centre, Dublin City Council and Common Ground in St Michael’s Estate Inchicore to develop a new show called HISTORY currently in development with THEATREclub and due for full production in 2013. Most recently, she devised and directed THE FAMILY at Project Arts Centre in January 2012.
Work with THEATREclub to date includes The Family and Twenty Ten both co-produced by Project Arts Centre, ROUGH, for which she recieved the Fishamble: The New Playwriting Company (ABSOLUT Fringe 2009 and Axis, Ballymun 2010) and Group THERAPY FOR ONE (ABSOLUT Fringe, Kilkenny Arts Festival 2010) which were both nominated for the Spirit of The Fringe award.
At
ABSOLUT Fringe 2010, she devised and directed Heroin , after a lengthy development process with Rialto Community Drug Team. Heroin was performed again at Axis, Ballymun in collaboration with axis and The Star Project, Ballymun in March 2011. Heroin won the Spirit of The Fringe Award in 2010 and was included as part of the ReViewed program at Dublin Theatre Festival 2011.
Work as a producer includes; Ella Clarke’s The Fall, Talking Shop Ensemble’s I am a Home Bird (It’s very hard), The Theatre Machine Turns You On ; a festival of new work in Project Arts Centre in 2009 and 2011, THEATREclub Stole Your Clock Radio What The Fuck You Gonna Do About It? (Project Arts Centre & Cork Midsummer Festival) and most recently The Family at Project Arts Centre in February 2011. Grace has also worked as an assistant to directors Wayne Jordan (Everybody Loves Sylvia 2008) , Jason Byrne (Wedding Day at The Cro Magnons 2008, A Midsummer Night’s Dream? 2011) and Annie Ryan (Happy Days 2010)
Grace has completed the Abbey Theatre’s New Playwrights Programme and has been shortlisted for the Stewart Parker Trust Award. She was a participant on the Next Stage in 2010 and at MAKE in 2009.

Louise Melinn. Since completing the New Playwright’s Programme, Louise Melinn has had her first writing debut with Boxes directed by Dan Colley as part of The Theatre Machine Turns You on Vol ii curated by THEATREclub at the Project Arts Centre. She was a participant on The Stewart Parker Trust week in Annaghmakerrig with Graham Whybrow. Louise also took part in the ABSOLUTFringe 2011 where she was a co playwright on You Can’t Just Leave There’s Always Something directed by Maeve Stone. She is currently working on her first radio play with Mairin O Grady and James Hickson.

Shawn Sturnick is a writer and actor who holds a post-graduate degree in acting from New York University. His collaboration, Luck, with actress Megan Riordan and director Dodd Loomis, has just been optioned for major motion picture adaptation. Luck was first seen in the 2009 Dublin Fringe Festival where it won the Bewley’s Little Gem Award. It had further productions at Bewely’s Café Theatre, the Cork Midsummer Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Adelaide Fringe in Australia and 59E59 Street Theatre in NYC.
Shawn’s first writing endeavour on Irish soil won him the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival’s Oscar Wilde Award for Best New Writing for his production of A Closet Flung Wide Open. A staged reading of his one-act Beauty secured him a nomination for the Jayne Snow Award in the 2007 Dublin Fringe. Other Irish productions include Marry Me with Painted Filly Theatre, his promenade play The Crown Jewels staged in Dublin Castle for the 2010 Dublin Fringe, the musical Here Comes Love at Bewley’s Café Theatre, and Prisoner Suite with Pandora Theatre in Kilkenny. He is soon to begin work on a new children’s musical with composer Samantha Sutton that re-imagines the Grimm’s fairy tale Aschenputtel, more commonly known as Cinderella.


A workshop with Fiona Shaw.